Help us plan some Minneapolis adventures.
June 29, 2006 6:51 AM   Subscribe

VacationFilter: Help us plan some Minneapolis adventures.

My wife and I are driving down from Canada to visit the Twin Cities, July 1st - 5th. This post has already provided general adventure fodder.

Further ideas sought:

- Best place to celebrate July 4th
- Tasty restaurants
- Beer lover pubs
- Music lover clubs (non-mainstream: tekn0, hip-hop, indie)
- Shopping (used books, music, funky clothes, &c.)

We're staying at this hostel.
posted by stungeye to Travel & Transportation around Minneapolis, MN (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that hostel's a block away from where I'm sitting right now. Well, there are a metric ton of good restaurants just down the street-- Nicollet Avenue is sort of a hotbed. I recommend Quang (28th & Nicollet) for excellent, cheap Vietnamese food, Azia (26th & Nicollet) for excellent, fringe-expensive Asian-fusion food, and Taco Morelos (26th & Nicollet; around the corner from Azia) for Mexican. But really, there are lots of good restaurant options up and down Nicollet, all the way up to downtown.

Beer: depends on what you're looking for, I guess. My favorite places are the CC Bar (26th & Lyndale), a grungy old place that's often served as a watering hole for Mpls musicians; the Chatterbox (35th st and something; if you ask, it's easy to get to), a nice little pub that caters a bit more towards 30ish people who're more interested in hanging out than in being part of a scene; and the Turf Club over in St. Paul (intersection of Snelling and University; you can't miss it), which is sort of a combo of awesome neighborhood bar and local music hotspot.

You can also maximize your food/beer experience by going to Sea Salt, a new restaurant that just opened up at Minnehaha Falls. Any local can tell yuo how to get to the Falls.

4th: The fireworks at the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown are cool, but the last time I was there it was marred by loudspeakers blasting Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American." The fireworks at the State Capitol in St. Paul might be a better way to go.

Shops: I'd suggest Magers & Quinn for books (they're at 31st and Hennepin; there are a couple of other good book shops within a block or two on Hennepin), and the Electric Fetus (Franklin and... 5th Avenue? It's not too far from your hostel; they should be able to tell you how to get there) is by far the best record store in town.

There's also a pretty sweet art museum across the street from your hostel.
posted by COBRA! at 7:06 AM on June 29, 2006

That other post covered the activities that came first to my mind: the zoo, canoeing on the lakes, etc.

In the tasty restaurant field, I've always remembered the Palomino as a great experience, even if not unique to MPLS. I'm not an elite dining expert, but I thought it was classy in a modern casual way, and the Euro-fusion food was light and flavorful. We went a few years back after seeing a play at a nearby theater, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. (Aw, I just looked at the menu and now my mouth is watering...)
posted by Tubes at 7:46 AM on June 29, 2006

Oh yes, walk across the street to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

You should also head north on 24th St to Lyndale Avenue and meander from Franklin to Lake for lots of funky shops and cafes and a gallery or two. Then turn north on Lake and walk a couple of blocks to the Bryant-Lake Bowl for excellent beer options.
posted by hsoltz at 8:08 AM on June 29, 2006

Best place to celebrate July 4th: The day of or day before or maybe even this Sunday (can ya tell it's been a while since I lived there??) the Minneapolis Star Tribune publishes times and viewing locations for the major displays as well as all the surrounding ones. The list includes not only fireworks but also where you can go for parades, ice cream socials, and other quaint Midwestern holiday spectating.
posted by whatzit at 9:49 AM on June 29, 2006

Pizza - Punch in calhoun center or Broadway in Richfield

Breakfast - Maria's Cafe on Franklin Ave. (get the corn pancakes)

Hunks of Expensive Meat - Mannys in DT Minneapolis

Italian - Vecios in St Louis Park

Thai - Ketsanas in Richfield

Nice/Expensive/Regional (a good date place) - Heartland in St. Paul

Burgers & Shakes - Snuffys in Edina

Mexican - El Norteno on Lake St.

Raw/Vegan - Ecopolitian on Lyndale

Trendy - That sparkly place on Hennepin

Vegan/Indian/Buffet - Udupi Cafe up north on Central
posted by rdurbin at 9:53 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

I second the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I could spend all day in there!
posted by bristolcat at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2006

Avoid Quang. Overrated food and overrun by the City Pages crowd. Azia's full of hipsters and yuppies. I hope the place goes out of business soon.

Evergreen on Nicollet has the best Asian food in the city and most of their dishes have a vegetarian option.

Mexican food - Me Gusta on Lake Street. Catch a 21 east on Lake for easy transport.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:20 AM on June 29, 2006

If you love beer, be sure to visit the Town Hall Brewery.

If variety is what you're after, try Williams in Uptown.

I'd actually anti-recommend the CC Club (as COBRA! recommended). Right across the street from it though is a place that has a good variety of Belgians -- totally blanking on the name right now.
posted by neckro23 at 10:54 AM on June 29, 2006

Right across the street from it though is a place that has a good variety of Belgians -- totally blanking on the name right now.

The Bulldog. With a great menu full of yummy (Vienna beef!) hotdogs.
posted by elquien at 11:05 AM on June 29, 2006

Avoid Quang. Overrated food and overrun by the City Pages crowd. Azia's full of hipsters and yuppies. I hope the place goes out of business soon.

I respectfully disagree about the food at Quang; and other than that, you seem awfully concerned about who's sitting at the other tables.
posted by COBRA! at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2006

(I'm from St. Paul. This list will be mostly about St. Paul. Consider yourself warned.)

I'll be spending the 4th at work, but going to the local fireworks display after my shift ends. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a list of local 4th stuff up. Note: the report is dated 7/1 so the Hudson fireworks are Saturday night, not tonight. If you go to the suburban displays that don't have entertainment listed, get there early and bring a towel or lawnchairs, and something to do until the fireworks start.

The Taste of Minnesota is packed and overpriced. If you do intend to go, you may want to take a walk down Cesar Chavez St. and eat at one of the Mexican restaurants instead.

Independent used bookstores: in Minneapolis, my friends would second the recommendation for Magers and Quinn above. They're good for general fiction. For mystery and science fiction, check out Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's (two stores in the same building.)

I'm not sure if you have your car with. These places are hard to reach by public transport: Paperbacks Plus, North St. Paul (general used paperbacks) and The Book Corner, Woodbury (mostly romance.)
posted by Electric Elf at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2006

The City Pages is more or less the default "alternative" paper in the Twin Cities (well, if you want more alternative than that there's always the Pulse).

If brew pubs are your style try the MN Craft Brewers Guild page (I'm a big fan of Barley John's).

The Minneapolis/St. Paul area of the official MN tourism site is very worthwhile
posted by nanojath at 1:49 PM on June 29, 2006

I can't stand Azia: hipper-than-thou vacuity. Your tastes may vary.

Quang is the "Vietnamese Perkins"--families hanging out on Sunday morning for cheap eats.

Black Forest is another nearby local tradition, been there absolutely forever.
posted by gimonca at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2006

No trip to Minneapolis is complete without an evening at Nye's Polonaise Room.
posted by gimonca at 2:01 PM on June 29, 2006

Further up in Northeast (over the river on the bus, #10 or #18), the Sample Room is where I go if I want to feel somewhat trendy, or maybe Erte.

On Central, Chiapas has decent homestyle Mexican/Latin food in a diner atmosphere. And the Holy Land Deli/Grocery has a great all-you-can-eat middle eastern buffet on weekends. Plus, they have al-Jazeera on satellite in the upstairs dining room.

If you go a little north on Nicollet from where you are towards the high-rise hotels, New Delhi has a good Indian lunch buffet. Market BBQ nearby has decent barbecue and such, another place that's been in town for decades (although at various locations).
posted by gimonca at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2006

I'll mention Udupi, too. It's a bit of a haul from where you're staying, but if vegetarian or vegan is important, they are your spot for sure. And, the South Indian food there is somewhat more likely to be an "I can't get this where I live" kind of experience.
posted by gimonca at 2:13 PM on June 29, 2006

Any local can tell you how to get to the Falls.

Of course--take the Hiawatha LRT!
posted by gimonca at 2:18 PM on June 29, 2006

If you wantto check out the buzz about Design City, go to the Walker Art Center, the new Central Library, and the new Guthrie building, as well as the new addition to the Insitute of Arts. But be careful-- most museums are closed Mondays, and will be closed on Tuesday.

The Pavek Museum in St. Louis Park is unbelievable and almost totally unknown, even by locals. And, if you're out by the Mall of America, check out the Pow-Wow Lounge at the Thunderbird Motel.

Check out 7th street in St. Paul. Next to Punch, the best Pizza in the city is to be had at Cosetta, which also offers, bar none, the best canoli. Twin Cities Magic & Costume is right next to it and is always worth peeking into. The Science Museum is right nearby, and current has Gunther van Hagen's Body Worlds on display, as well as having the collection from a lost and beloved old Minneapolis museum -- the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices. While you're in St. Paul, visit Half Time Rec, recently declared one of the bes bars in America, and enjoy playing bocce ball on their roof. Steakat Mancinis, also on 7th, is worth the trip as well, if only because their cocktail lounge is spectacular.

Ifyu're going to Minnehaha falls, stop by Dave's Popcorn stand and enjoy the best popcorn in the whole wide world.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:37 PM on June 29, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Looks to be a great trip.
posted by stungeye at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2006

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